After a four-day virtual Democratic National Convention that ended with former Vice President Joe Biden officially accepting the party’s nomination, Filipino American Democrats across the country are ready to fight the “battle for the soul of the nation.”
Speaking from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday night, August 20, Biden made his case for what the United States would look like under his leadership, as he would be tasked to lead the country out of “a season of darkness.”
The priorities include managing and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as tackling the heightened issues Americans have faced in recent months, such as the racial injustice reckoning and economic downturn.
“Here and now I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” the 77-year-old Biden said. “Make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”
Though running as a Democrat, he vowed to be an “American president” for all regardless of political affiliation.
“I will work as hard for those who didn’t support me as I will for those who did,” the former vice president continued. “That’s the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.”
“Filipino Americans for Biden-Harris,” a national, multigenerational group of volunteers and supporters, virtually gathered for a post-convention party and to outline their plans leading to November 3rd. Among the participants included prominent Fil-Am Democratic leaders and convention delegates from across the country.
Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, whose maternal grandfather was of Filipino ancestry, said that after hearing Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, the work now continues to ensure they get elected to office.
“We heard a new vision articulated by the next president of the United States, saying what all Filipinos want. They want somebody who can bring the country together, who can protect health care and improve education, promote a fair justice system, reform the economy for everybody, not just the top 1% and corporations…” Scott said.
Rep. TJ Cox, who narrowly won the seat for California’s 21st District in 2018, understands how every vote counts in heated races.
“We’ve got so much work to do to bring back that promise of America…,” Cox said, adding “And our Filipino community is going to be central to those efforts…we’re going to be key to rebuilding America and creating the jobs that all Americans know we’re going to need as we continue to get back on our feet. We all know immigrants and Filipinos get the job done.”
Gina Ortiz Jones, an Iraq War veteran who is running again for Texas’ 23rd District in hopes of being the first Filipina American in the U.S. Congress, said that though a lot is at stake, “it is clear what is possible if we have leaders that think everybody should be treated equally under the law.”
Though Juslyn Manalo, vice mayor for Daly City, California, was a convention delegate for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, she said she is throwing her support behind the Biden-Harris ticket.
“I am truly inspired from this convention and we know that all of us need to come together because this election is extremely detrimental to our communities…” Manalo said. “The very issues we care about in our community, such as education, health care, jobs, climate change and social justice [have] been on the back burner with this current administration.”
The path forward
With the election less than three months away, Biden-Harris supporters recognize the urgency in getting out the vote, despite the pandemic preventing traditional campaign efforts.
“Our focus is on registering Filipino voters, increasing the awareness of the Biden-Harris ticket, [and] educating our community in a multi-language and multi-generational [approach],” Vida Benavides, an advisor for Fil-Ams for Biden, said, adding that a lot of the work will be done in battleground states.
Next week, the Republican National Convention kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina, where President Donald Trump will be renominated as the party’s candidate. The Fil-Ams for Biden group said they will be releasing rapid responses to the points made and honing down on the messaging that aligns with the Democratic Party’s platform.
“We have the team ready of making sure we have the right information…The misinformation campaign that has already been started, what’s going on with the Post Office, there’s going to be a lot of that, so our goal is to stick with the truth and the facts,” Benavides said.